Kate Middleton and Prince William take George, Charlotte and Louis to Christmas panto
KATE and William stole the show at pantomime today by bringing along their three kids.
The family-of-five walked arm in arm together on the red carpet at the London Palladium to thank key workers.
They were treated to a performance of Pantoland starring Elaine Page and Julian Clary alongside Covid-19 hero bin men, NHS staff, delivery drivers and charity volunteers.
It is believed to be the first time the family has been to panto and in the royal box together.
Prince William, 38, gave a speech hailing sacrifices made by key workers during the pandemic saying the nation owes a "debt of gratitude".
And paid tribute to Dame Barbara Windsor describing the late actress as a "giant of the entertainment world" and a "legend on pantomime stages across the country".
He added: "I know we’ll all miss her hugely."
But the real stars of the show was the surprise appearance of Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five and two-year-old Prince Louis.
The family walked hand-in-hand on the red carpet at the West End show this afternoon.
George wore a brown and black striped jumper and Charlotte donned a grey dress. Kate was wearing a dress by Alessandra Rich.
For much of William’s speech, Louis sat on Kate's lap and pointed at a big glitter ball hanging from the ceiling above the main part of the auditorium.
When William returned to find his seat Charlotte did a cheeky face palm as before they all settled down for the show.
It was two-year-old Louis's second public outing after appearing at the Cenotaph last year.
The matinee was hosted by The National Lottery to thank key workers and their families for their phenomenal efforts this year.
It comes only three days after Kate and William's 1,250 mile Royal Train Tour to thank the country for its Covid-19 efforts which culminated with a reunion with the Queen at Windsor Castle.
The performance in the West End theatre was held to recognise the work, key workers from across London including NHS staff, delivery drivers, refuse collectors, emergency services staff, charity workers and volunteers.
Many were invited to join the Cambridges for a special performance of The National Lottery’s Pantoland at The Palladium.
Before the show Prince William delivered a speech to thank key workers for their efforts during the pandemic.
The duke hailed the unsung heroes for the sacrifices they have made to keep the country operating.
He said: "Huge congratulations to everyone involved from the London Palladium, to Qdos Productions and of course the cast for all your hard work. Catherine, George, Charlotte, Louis and I are all really looking forward to the show.
"And many thanks to the National Lottery who have helped make this evening possible. They are supporting much-loved theatres put on pantomimes right across the country."
William paid tribute to Dame Barbara Windsor, who sadly died last night, calling her a "national treasure".
He said: "She was a giant of the entertainment world, and of course a legend on pantomime stages across the country including here at the London Palladium. And I know we’ll all miss her hugely.
"We are here tonight for a very special performance. Special, because of you – the key workers here in the audience.
"You include community workers, volunteers, teachers, NHS staff, representatives from the emergency services and military, researchers working on the vaccine, people helping the homeless, those manning vital call centres, and staff from a wide range of frontline charities – to name but a few.
"You have given your absolute all this year, and made remarkable sacrifices.
"So too have your families, who I’m sure have seen far less of you than they would have liked. It’s lovely that you are all here together tonight.
"You are representative of the huge number of people across the UK who have stepped forward to make a difference this year in so many crucial ways. The country owes you a huge debt of gratitude.
"I hope you all thoroughly enjoy yourselves this evening. It is the least we could do to thank you for everything you do – day in, day out – to keep our country safe and look after those who need help the most.
"From all of us – we wish you all a very Happy Christmas."
During the interval, The Duke and Duchess also met a small number of key worker families to hear more about their experiences over the past year.
Dom Warren, 35, and his wife Alex, 33, from Hastings in East Sussex set up Dom’s Food Mission five years ago to use surplus food to help feed struggling families.
They have seen demand rise dramatically and are currently providing 8,000 food parcels per month to families during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The couple, who are helped by their daughter, Lexie, 11, and son, Roman, 7, who both collect surplus food for the charity, work seven days a week, all spoke to the royal couple.
William said.: "Look after yourself. You’ve got to look after yourself in the long term because then you can look after other people."
Asked what the Cambridges had thought of the show so far, Dom said: “They said they thought it was amazing.”
Matt Ridsdale, Executive Director for the National Lottery operator, stepped onto the stage and introduced Wills.
He said: “As this is panto, I’m very conscious of who’s behind me. I'm delighted to introduce His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge."
Kate and William also chatted to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary about their Royal Train tour earlier this week where acts funded by the Culture Recovery Fund performed at every stop.
William said: "Thank you for all the help on the train journey."
The show stars Julian Clary, Elaine Page and their fellow cast members Ashley Banjo and Nigel Havers.
The National Lottery this year is supporting pantomimes at ten theatres across the country.
Funds are being handed over to help them to safely open their doors to the public by providing funding for the empty seats required for social distancing.
The couple's Royal Train Tour was also held to showcase the UK’s arts, heritage and live performance sector, which has been supported throughout the pandemic by the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
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